Federal Judge: Stop Enforcing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

In anther big victory against DADT, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips issued a ruling today that ends enforcement of the military's ban on openly gay and lesbian service members and orders the Department of Defense to halt investigations and discharges.

The government has 60 days to file an appeal. Legal experts say they are under no obligation to appeal and could let the ruling stand, although they are expected to appeal. This afternoon, 21 senators signed a letter urging Attorney General Eric Holder not to appeal.

(In other news today, the DoJ filed a notice of appeal on the district court decision that ruled section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in July.)

Closeted gay and lesbian service members are cautioned to stay in the closet until the policy is repealed by Congress or definitively overturned.

Here is the text of the ruling:
This action was tried by Judge Virginia A. Phillips without a jury on July
13-16 and 20-23, 2010. The Court filed a Memorandum Opinion on
September 9, 2010 (Doc. 232), and an Amended & Final Memorandum
Opinion, and Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, on October 8, 2010.
For all the reasons set forth therein, the Court:

(1) DECLARES that the act known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" infringes
the fundamental rights of United States servicemembers and prospective
servicemembers and violates (a) the substantive due process rights
guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and
(b) the rights to freedom of speech and to petition the Government for redress
of grievances guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States

(2) PERMANENTLY ENJOINS Defendants United States of America
and the Secretary of Defense, their agents, servants, officers, employees,
and attorneys, and all persons acting in participation or concert with them or
under their direction or command, from enforcing or applying the "Don't Ask,
Don't Tell" Act and implementing regulations, against any person under their
jurisdiction or command;

(3) ORDERS Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of
Defense immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or
discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced
under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Act, or pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 654 or its
implementing regulations, on or prior to the date of this Judgment.

(4) GRANTS Plaintiff Log Cabin Republicans' request to apply for
attorneys' fees pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. §
2412; and

(5) GRANTS Plaintiff Log Cabin Republicans' request to file a motion
for costs of suit, to the extent allowed by law.
Rachel Maddow explains the slow but steady death of DADT, today's important ruling, the response from the Pentagon and what could happen next. [Note Senator Begich in the senate vote clip.]

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